Hullo, readers! It’s been a whirlwind couple of days here at Unfeasible Enterprises, what with the SCBWI conference, a flurry of wedding planning, various flights back and forth across the country, and a ton of reading to do. We’ve also gone out with our first official submission, and shared another author’s next novel with her publisher. So — whirlwind!
But it’s nice to be back in the office and getting back to my regular work schedule, so with that in mind, let’s tackle a question, shall we?
A friend and I wrote a book over the summer about philosophy and I have recently finished a poem book of 40 or so poems, all of which I would one day love to see in print. I’m aware of the hardships I face being only 15, with no money and the content of these books being things people don’t like to read but I would love it if you could email me any advice you have about getting these things published.
Sarah, congrats! Only 15 and already you’ve finished two books — well done! You write about the hardships of being 15 in trying to get your work done, and no lie, that can be a stumbling block. But it’s not about your age, per se. It’s about experience.
Publishing is a tough business for all writers, and your book of poems or philosophy has to compete with all the other submissions agents and editors are reading. Your youthful enthusiasm can only take you so far — you need to be able to back that up with strong writing, with good, quality work, or no one’s going to give your manuscript a second look. You write that you’d “one day” love to see your work in print, and I totally think that’s the right attitude. It doesn’t need to happen right away — most successful writers have spent years practicing their craft, before they finally get published. Keep reading, keep writing, keep learning about books, and publishing, and poetry, and philosophy… and other great words that start with “p.” (Peep-toe pumps!)
And finally, put aside the idea that you need money to be published. You don’t, unless you’re looking at vanity presses where you have to pay them to produce your book. That’s not traditional publishing, and that shouldn’t ever be your first course of action if you plan to be a published author. Researching agents, sending email queries, joining a critique group, polishing your manuscript — none of this takes any money to do, except what you need to support yourself while you’re writing. And that’s just called life.